Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Over Christmas, I have been asked whether I am a member of the new business advisory panel set up by the Secretary of State for Wales in December.

Well, I am glad to say that I actually have been invited to be a member of the panel and attended the first meeting in Gwydyr House on December 14th (I am third from the left in the photograph above).

It was a very different type of meeting to the ones I have previously attended as a member of the Business Partnership Council organised by the Welsh Assembly Government, which tended to be formal and dominated by politicians and civil servants.

In contrast, this event was far more relaxed, everyone was given the opportunity to have their say and yes, there were actual entrepreneurs and businesspeople sitting around the table in addition to the CBI and the FSB. There was even a representative from the Welsh Assembly Government to ensure that there was joined up thinking between Westminster and Cardiff Bay. Indeed, David Rosser and I seemed to agree on the majority of issues we raised at the event!!

Certainly, there was a frank and open discussion (especially about the rail link between London and Cardiff) and it is clear that the Secretary of State intends to listen very carefully to the group on a  range of issues.

The panel will also be given access to other members of Cabinet during future meetings. For example, Vince Cable may be attending the next meeting and a number of us are keen to discuss the role of the non-devolved Technology Strategy Board in Wales and its role, to date, in stimulating innovation.

I feel very privileged to be part of the group and it should be a fascinating series of meetings over the next few years.